Episiotomy in labour, worried about tearing?

Katherine asked Lauren a question about tearing:

Lauren, your story came in handy as an example in class this weekend. A woman came to learn HypnoBirthing for her second baby, she had a 4th degree tear with the first and was scared about what might happen the second time. I told her your story of second time around, that you only had a slight graze. I would like to publish your answer as it will help other women to be reassured about trying to birth naturally and avoid worries about tearing during second stage of birth or labour.


breathing helped during a natural water birth

I’d been worried too, going into labour, about the possibility of tearing again. I’d only had a slight second degree tear with Berlin, but I didn’t heal properly, and had to have a re-episiotomy when she was six months old. I was praying for a baby with a smaller head! I did make more of a concentrated effort to breathe the baby out this time. Last time, I remember thinking ‘I’ll just try one big push, then go back to the breathing’, and that was when I tore. As it happened, Madden’s head was actually half a centimetre larger than what Berlin’s was, so lesson learned there!

I think that water birthing and Hypnobirthing work incredibly well together. The breathing was much easier to maintain in the water. Ryan was great at paying attention to what I was doing too, and reminding me to ‘keep breathing in’ or ‘keep breathing out’, as I remember I’d sometimes get halfway through a breath and I’d forget which way I was meant to be breathing.

You’re more than welcome to publish Madden’s story on your website. I found a lot of comfort in the stories you published before Berlin was born, and re-read them all before Madden’s birth too. If my stories in turn can help reassure other women, then that would be lovely.

I watched a documentary while I was pregnant this time around called ‘The Business of Being Born’. It was co-made by Ricki Lake, and was all about birthing practices in America and how the standard there is to go straight to intervention in labour. The statistics for both mother and child survival rates as a consequence were shocking. It made me really sad that natural, peaceful approaches to labour aren’t more readily available, and encouraged, for birthing women everywhere. Well worth a watch, if you haven’t already seen it. They don’t speak about Hypnobirthing so much, but do show women opting for home-births with midwives, so they can achieve a natural outcome, & the benefits of doing so.

I was disappointed we couldn’t come in for a refresher course with you before Madden’s birth. We’re living in Townsville now; we’ve been here for about a year, but if we’re ever back in Sydney, I’d definitely love to catch up.

Anyhow, best wishes to you,

Lauren x